A little bit about my story…
Okay, so it’s a lot about my story but it’s all imperative to how I am now and how my story has been shaped and will continue to be shaped.
I’ve always felt very active. Even now, at my almost heaviest and definitely the un-healthiest, I still feel strong. I still feel like I have a lot of muscle foundation. The number on the scale has never really scared me, to a point, because I’ve always thought that I have a lot of muscle and therefore, I carry it well and all that stuff. To some degree, it’s true. I have always carried it well. Back in highschool when i was in the best shape of my life, playing volleyball and softball and I was relatively fit and in shape, I still weighed 140-150 pounds and was very happy with that. I was in a good place physically and that number didn’t bother me. Even though, at my height, people say I should weigh around 120 – I don’t personally think that’s ever possible. I don’t think I want to weigh that much. Looking back and knowing that I was in amazing shape at 150, I don’t honestly know how I could have been 30 pounds less.
And, while I can see that side of it, I can also see how I am at the point I’m at now. The number kept creeping up and creeping up and I kept thinking, “Oh, well I carry it well,” “I have a lot of muscle” and “I can get the fat off easily, no problem.” And, that kept on and kept on. I went to college and gained the weight like you normally do and still was not super overweight but was, you know, heavier than I had been in highschool. I wasn’t overly active in college either. I wasn’t active at all. Let’s just put it that way.
I got married early and it was not a good relationship. That is where I gained a lot of my initial weight. I gained to the heaviest point that I’ve ever been. I looked the most unhealthy I’ve ever looked. It was a relationship I should have never gotten into and definitely should have gotten out of way sooner. I came back home after leaving him and lost a lot of that weight and was happy again…blah blah blah.
Then, I got married again. Yes, I got married again. A little ashamed to admit that but honesty is best right? This relationship wasn’t a bad one like the first though, it just didn’t end the way I expected it to. I would say I was more active during this time than most other moments of my adult life. We regularly did Crossfit. I was very active with my dogs and living in Washington state and if you didn’t enjoy the outdoors there, then you’re dumb. I wasn’t at my healthiest and I wasn’t at my goal weight but at least I was active and I was probably sitting around 170. For me, that’s not too bad.
Rewind real quick – When I was with my first ex, I was going to the gym. I thought I was being active. I was lifting weights almost every day but I wasn’t doing cardio and I was eating shit. I was naive and was literally doing everything wrong. I thought I was doing good because I was going to the gym. I was in a bad place mentally with myself and with him and he would tell me I didn’t need to do cardio or whatever.
When my second marriage ended and I moved back home from Washington and I was kind of in that middle phase of not the healthiest but not the worst. I wasn’t overly active again, would go on hikes here and there and to the gym here and there. I also fluctuated with eating really well and then slack off for a larger amount of time. I think at this point I was still attempting a paleo diet – yes, I’ve done a vegan’s worst nightmare. I don’t remember how long I did that for but obviously it didn’t work.
About a year after I moved back home, I went skiing. The first time I had ever been skiing and didn’t know what the hell I was doing but I was with people who knew what they were doing. I was terrified and I didn’t really WANT to be skiing. I didn’t feel comfortable and I wouldn’t say I was pushed. I tend to say I’m fine and be stubborn but inside I was more like “Oh fuck, I am not fine.” So I did it anyway. After two times on the bunny slope, I decided that was enough. It wasn’t enough. I think I felt like I was holding others back when I should have taken as much damn time on the bunny slopes as I wanted to. I went up to the hardest one at this particular place and it was….horrible. I did not make it down the first time in one piece. You can read my full story here.
I tore my ACL. I did not know at that time but I ended up shredding my ACL, spraining my MCL and PCL and bruised my knee bone. The MRI was just a formality for insurance because he knew it was that bad right away. I had my ACL replaced almost immediately and then followed by horrible physical therapy. Since then, about 4 years ago, I’ve kind of just let everything go downhill. At first, mainly due to legitimate reasons. For the first six months, my knee was not normal and I probably pushed myself too hard like I always do. I went back to work after two days when it should be two weeks. I did lots of walking and hiking that I shouldn’t have done. Ironic that I was more active when I had reason not to be. For the first year, it felt like it was never going to be right. I thought I was always going to have some kind of a limp and that i was never going to be strong like I used to be. So for the first year, I had real excuses.
Then, I went and got super active but not the right way. I met my boyfriend and about six months (a year and a half after ACL) into dating, he started a moving company and I helped him. It was very hard to get employees and so about 80% of the moving jobs, I helped on. I’m not just talking about a small move. I’m talking about pianos and gun safes and full, 12 hour long moving days everyday probably 3-4 days a week for two years. We kept saying we were going to get me off the truck but when it came down to money, I did it and for two years I got stuck in that cycle.
I was too exhausted to do anything else. I was getting cardio in – running stuff to the truck all day – but I wouldn’t call it high intensity. I would call it low intensity but for very long periods of time. However, I was eating like shit and not doing any other form of exercise. When you’re working 12 hour days and then have an off day here and there, you’re sure as fuck not going to do anything those days because you can’t even feel your legs. It was very unhealthy because it was super yo-yo-y.
For the first year and a half of this, I was not vegan. I did not become vegan until last May. I felt WAY better when I first became vegan even doing this ridiculous work cycle. Since becoming vegan, I lost 20 pounds quite easily. But, I would still call myself a junk food vegan. I lost 20 pounds easily from cutting out animal products because it naturally cut out a lot of fast food and eating out which is what I was doing a lot being on the moving trucks. However, because of my junk food ways, I’ve plateaued for about the past six months. I’ve done some small stints of healthy eating. I did 12 days of raw and a week or so of potato diet. But I haven’t stuck with any of them.
I’ve now come to the conclusion that I just need to do whole foods. That’s it. No more gimmicks. I don’t need to do cleanses or raw. I can just do primarily whole foods and keeping my exercise level up, then I’m fine. There shouldn’t be any more rules.
Back in December, which is what got me off the truck indefinitely, I was helping move a gun safe and I pulled my back quite bad. I felt it during the move and somehow made it out of the customer’s house. Looking back, I’m not even sure how I did that. By the time I got back to the house, I had to be helped into the house. By the end of that day, I was literally army crawling it through the house. If I had to go to the bathroom, I had to army crawl. i could not stand. At that point, I was terrified that I had done permanent damage. That’s how bad it was. I’ve pulled my back before and it was nothing like this. I could not stand without crumbling.
By the next morning, I decided something else was wrong and decided to go to the emergency room. I had an MRI done and I had two slipped discs. They were immediately talking about referring me to an orthopedic surgeon and the likelihood of surgery was in the my future and I was like “what the fuck?” I got steroids and painkillers so I could get to where I could walk and it did after the first few days. I was not okay with having surgery or paying for the appointment so I decided to just do chiropractic care. I went into it with an open mind (and wallet, haha). The first couple months, I was thinking it wasn’t getting any better. My lower back was still hurting very bad to the touch and when I was getting up or down. However, the past month or so, I’ve finally felt like it’s going to get back to normal. It’s not tender to the touch anymore and getting up and down doesn’t feel like I’m 90 years old anymore.
All this being said, I’m just now able to get back into a fitness routine again. Over the past four months, I’ve listened to The China Study, Eat to Live and The Campbell Plan, all of which highly encourage a whole foods plant based diet. Then I went to Vegfest last month and met Robert Cheeke and Fraser Bayley. I had read Robert’s Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness book a while back when I was in one of my manic, get back in shape phases. I’ve never wanted to compete in bodybuilding but I’ve always wanted to be in shape. For the past ten years, I’ve been saying I want to be in this shape and for the past ten years, I’ve done jack shit about it. I loved Robert’s book though and it was very inspiring to meet him and hear him speak. I also met Bayley who I didn’t really know a lot about except he was a vegan bodybuilder. I ended up being so moved by his speech which was about his road from being a butcher to eventually becoming a vegan bodybuilder. Both of their speeches really resonated with me and have inspired me to start this blog.
I want to document what I’m going through. I don’t like to admit but, by all categories, I’m overweight and depressed and I know there are others going through the same thing.
I hope that you’ll join me on this journey!